Friday, July 31, 2009

This Is Not a Thesis

“If one tried to advance theses in philosophy, it would never be possible to debate them, because everyone would agree to them.” (Philosophical Investigations, section 128)

“Philosophy simply puts everything before us, and neither explains nor deduces anything.—Since everything lies open to view there is nothing to explain. For what is hidden, for example, is of no interest to us.” (Philosophical Investigations, section 126)

At least to start out, this blog is mainly going to be a series of observations designed to shed light on the relationship and contrast between radical embodied cognitive science and representational approaches. These aren’t arguments in the traditional sense; I’m not putting forth contestable claims and trying to persuade everyone that they’re correct. What I’m aiming to do is clear away confusion, bringing attention to facts and phenomena that “lie open to view,” as soon as we start noticing them. Later I’ll build on these observations and make a case, advocating for the superiority of the radical embodied perspective. But until then, my main points will be ones that I take to be obviously true — verging on mundane — once you understand them. If you find yourself disagreeing, that probably means I haven’t been clear, so it sounds like I’m making a more dramatic or contentious statement than I intend to be making. You may very well take issue with the particular examples or terminology I use, which is fine; there’s no problem with substituting other ones.

In this way, I humbly aspire to do philosophy in the sense that (the later) Wittgenstein understood it, which may be quite different from what other philosophers and readers of philosophy are accustomed to. At some point I will go into much greater detail about Wittgenstein’s work (which I think is sadly misunderstood), but that is a topic for another post, if not an entirely different blog.

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